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Posts Tagged ‘new york’

CIPA and How We Win Against Terrorism

Posted by AB on November 24, 2009

There is much concern about the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other accused terrorists in a federal court in New York City.  Personally, I think that those concerns are unfounded, and I think that those concerns are raised in order to scare the public, for partisan political purposes.  Most of this noise comes, not from the populous at large, but from partisan politicians and media critics of the Obama Administration.

The fact of the matter is that our justice system has tried terrorists and have been quite successful in doing so.  I did, however, accept one concern in particular.  That is the concern that classified information could be provided to the defense, and subsequently, admitted at trial.  I was concerned about that until I did a little research, and I didn’t have to look far.  An important procedural tool for the prosecution (US Government) in trials for which classified information could be requested.  The Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) is used to protect classified information from being revealed in court, or to the defense. 

There are other pieces of legislation that is used to protect sensitive information, but CIPA has been used in recent terror trials, including that of Zacharias Moussaui, who was convicted in a federal court.  The trial of the so-called 20th hijacker was praised by some of the same people who are currently fear-mongering about the KSM trial.  And to my knowledge, no classified or, otherwise sensitive information, was released to the public or to the defense. 

Again, our courts have tried many terrorism suspects, and our prisons currently hold hundreds of terrorists, none of which have escaped.  That’s another point of contention being raised by the right–holding terrorists in our supermax prisons will increase the terror risk.  Unfortunately, these same detractors said nothing about these concerns during the Bush Administration.  And that is the difference, I think.  In their eagerness to damage President Obama, these critics have forgotten that our system of justice is far superior to the messages and tactics of terrorists.

Remember when it was understood that if our nation was forced to change our ways of life, then the same terrorists who were responsible for the 9/11 attacks will have won.  Seems to me that right-wing America has surrendered to cowards like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  I will never surrender my way of life, to no one, ever.  Luckily, our nation now has the leadership that understands that the strength of the United States of America is, in a large part, due to our system of justice.  It is time for these terrorists to receive the justice that they deserve, rather that sitting in a military prison without charge.  When justice is served, the world will know that we have not surrendered, and we will have won a small, but significant battle against terrorism.

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Who’s Afraid of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad?

Posted by AB on November 17, 2009

Remember when Republicans acted so tough on the issue of terrorism? You know, the days and months after 9/11. Remember when we weren’t going to allow terrorism to defeat us? Most Americans bought into that then, and we came together as a nation because of that belief, but fewer and fewer believe that in the subsequent years.

After our nation was attacked by religious extremists, our president assured us that those responsible would face justice–there was reason to believe in our nation. All that we needed to do was to go shopping, for if we allowed those terrorists to change our ways of life, they will have won. Do you remember that? All of that tough-sounding cowboy talk really got the red-blooded, “real” Americans’ juices flowing.

Time and truth, however, uncover the facades of even the most strident conservatives. As we moved farther and farther away from that infamous date of 9/11, the attacks have become less of a cause to do good, while becoming an excuse to forget that we have stronger values than others.  Behind the leadership of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, conservatives used the attacks of 9/11 to justify just about anything:  wars, wiretapping of American citizens, holding prisoners without charge, torture, assassinations, the corporate rape of the American people (think Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater), etc. 

Recently, current United States Attorney General, Eric Holder announced that the mastermind behind 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, and four of his cohorts would be tried before a federal court in New York City, the site of the attacks on the World Trade Center.  Republicans, conservatives, and some Democrats seem to have forgotten that we are a nation of laws, and they are huffing and puffing about how scary it will be to try these terrorists on American soil.  They are outraged and afraid; they want you to be outraged and afraid. 

Is it that they have so little faith in our justice system that they fear that the killers might be acquitted?  Do they fear that our law enforcement system cannot protect New York civilians?  Those are a couple of the excuses that you’ll hear, all designed to make you afraid of terrorism, all designed to paralyze this nation in fear.  It should be of no surprise, however, because conservatives have been doing this for years–using the threat of terrorism to weaken domestic opponents.  This time it is to weaken the President of the United States, Barack Obama.  It is easy to see that is the case, because terrorists were successfully tried in civilian courts during the Bush Administration, including the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacharias Moussavi.  That prosecution was supported by conservatives as a triumph of the American way of life.

Well, guess what fraidy-cats.  Trying these terrorists in the courts is not only the right thing to do constitutionally, but it is quintessentially American.  In our country, even the worst of the worst get due-process under our laws.  Even admitted murders get their day in court.  Even admitted child molestors have a right to a trial.  And yes, terrorists, domestic and foreign, must be tried and convicted if they are responsible for crimes on our soil.  Why?  Because we are America, stupid.  We do things the right way, no matter the fears of partisan politics.  If we forget that we are a nation of laws, then the terrorists have won.

This is the man that makes Republicans/conservatives wet their beds.  As an American, are you afraid of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad?

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World Series Begins Tonight!

Posted by AB on October 28, 2009

world_series_trophy.jpg  The Prize

In less than an hour, New York Yankees’ pitcher, C.C. Sebathia, will throw the opening pitch of the 2009 World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies’ leadoff batter, Jimmy Rollins.  The best-of-seven series opens at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York.

This is a matchup between what I thought were the best in their respective leagues, throughout the regular season.  The Phillies are the defending World Champions, but you wouldn’t know it if you listened to the media.  According to most national media commentators, the Phillies might want to save some embarrassment by just forfeiting.  Well, I have news for those people:  the Phillies are going to win.  Don’t get me wrong, the Yankees are a great team, but the dismissal of the defending champs will seep into the mindset of the Yankees players, and they will be out-classed, out-played, and out-coached.

It really saddens me two know that either of these fan bases are going to celebrate a World Championship, but I am heartened that the other will be miserable.  These are two of the most obnoxious fan bases in professional sports; the New York snobs and the Philadelphia ass-holes.  While saying that, I must point-out that while I am annoyed by them, they are some of the most passionate, knowledgable, and loyal fans in professional sports.  I have to give it to them; they are great sports fans.

While I was rooting, slightly, for an all Los Angeles World Series, I have not the slightest rooting interest in this series.  I don’t care who wins.  But I do love baseball, so I look forward to a great World Series, and this one should be a good one.

My prediction:  Phillies win in 6 games

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Yankees Win ALCS, Advance to World Series

Posted by AB on October 26, 2009

Last night, the New York Yankees won the American League Championship Series over the LA Angels, four games to two.  They will host the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies when the World Series begins, on Wednesday.  This is the Yankees’ first trip to the World Series since 2003, when they lost to the Florida Marlins.  They haven’t won the Series since 2000, against their cross-town rival New York Mets.

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Uncle Sam

Posted by AB on August 20, 2009

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The other day, I heard a reference to “Uncle Sam,” which, as we all know, is the cartoon embodiment of the U.S. Government.  Normally, I wouldn’t think twice about that reference, but I realized that I didn’t know where the character originated, so I decided to look it up.  The most surprising aspect (at least, for me) of “Uncle Sam’s” origins is that the reference goes so far back into our nation’s history.

When the War of 1812 was declared, a man named Samuel Wilson was contracted to supply the meats that was purchased by the U.S. Government.  Mr. Wilson’s nickname was “Uncle” Sam.  On the containers of meat that the Troy, New York resident provided to the U.S. Army, the initials U.S. (Uncle Sam) were prominent.  Apparently, there was some confusion amongst the troops about where the meat came from.  Some knew that “Uncle” Sam Wilson was the provider, but other assumed that the U.S. stood for the United States.  Somewhere along the line, the two entities became one in the same, and the United States began to called “Uncle Sam.”  Political cartoonists began using a male personification of the Government as early as 1852.

The visual of a tall, slender, white-bearded man that we know today became popular during World War I with Army recruiting posters like the one above.  Through the years, this “Uncle Sam” has become a proud symbol of our nation, and I suspect that it will continue to be so.

*The links contain much better explanations of “Uncle Sam’s” origins.  

  

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NBA Draft

Posted by AB on June 25, 2009

The NBA Draft commences tonight at Madison Square Garden, in New York City.  This draft seems to be an unpredictable, volatile one.  There have already been several trades, in recent days, that will affect the draft.  There is one certainty, however; Oklahoma University forward, Blake Griffin will be the #1 pick by the LA Clippers.  From there, anything could happen.

The draft begins at 7:30 on ESPN

I am going to attempt a pre-draft mock, and I will try to predict position and not necessarily the team:

Round 1

1. LA Clippers–Blake Griffin, F, Oklahoma

2. Memphis–Ricky Rubio, G, Spain (I think that a team moves up to this spot to take Rubio)

3. Oklahoma City–Hasheem Thabeet, C, Connecticut

4. Sacramento–Stephen Curry, G, Davidson (I think that a team, possibly the Knicks, trade here)

5. Minnesota–James Harden, G, Arizona State

6. Minnesota–Jonny Flynn, G, Syracuse

7. Golden State–Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis

8. New York–Jordan Hill, F, Arizona

9. Toronto–Terrance Williams, G, Louisville

10. Milwaukee–Ty Lawson, G, North Carolina

11. New Jersey–Gerald Henderson, G, Duke

12. Charlotte–Demar DeRozen, G, Southern California

13. Indiana–Jrue Holiday, G, UCLA

14. Phoenix–Brandon Jennings, G, Italy

15. Detroit–Tyler Hansbrough, F, North Carolina

16. Chicago–James Johnson, F, Wake Forest

17. Philadelphia–Eric Maynor, G, Virginia Commonwealth

18. Minnesota–Dejuan Blair, F, Pittsburgh

19. Atlanta–Jeff Teague, G, Wake Forest

20. Utah–BJ Mullins, C, Ohio State

21. New Orleans–Austin Daye, F, Gonzaga

22. Portland–Omri Casspi, F, Israel

23. Sacremento–Taj Gibson, F, Southern California

24. Dallas–Toney Douglas, G, Florida State

25. Oklahoma City–Sam Young, F, Pittsburgh

26. Chicago–Wayne Ellington, G, Noth Carolina

27. Memphis–Chase Budinger, F, Arizona

28. Minnesota–Dejuan Summers, F, Georgetown

29. New York (from LA Lakers)–Darren Collison, G, UCLA

30. Cleveland–Danny Green, F, North Carolina

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